I don’t have any numbers but historically, when unemployment has risen more people start their own businesses, and some go into real estate sales. It doesn’t cost much to get started and requires very little education.
Lately, I have run into a few people who have just joined us and have received some calls from others who would like to become Realtors.
We all have to start someplace and I was once a new agent. In fact, to some I still am, even though I have been in the business for less than a decade. It takes some experience to do a good job representing clients. When you don’t let me know that you are new, I can’t help you.
Last week, you wrote an offer on one of my listings. It was a good offer — all the i’s were dotted and the t’s crossed — which is unusual as I get so many offers that I have to kick back to the buyer’s agent. I was impressed and you looked like you knew what you were doing.
Then we got to the appraisal and there were some problems. Your behavior and the way you handled those problems was unusual. My sellers began to wonder about the buyers. I started to get frustrated with you.
There were some other problems and it seemed like you wouldn’t work with me to solve them. Finally, I got a little aggressive, as I sometimes do, and I pushed you too far and you admitted that you are new.
Your admission changed my attitude about you. You told me that you work on a team with a more experienced agent and you let me talk to him. I thank you for that because the two of us were able to work out a solution. You are very lucky to have someone like your team lead who you can learn from.
Now that we have it all worked out you won’t have to show those buyers of yours any more homes and you will get a nice check next month. I did enjoy working with you, but if you had told me how new you were I wouldn’t have gotten frustrated with you and I would have been more helpful.
Next time let the seller’s agent know that you don’t know everything and that you are still learning. When agents can work together we can create a better experience for our clients. There is no need to have an adversarial relationship just because we are representing a buyer and a seller. To do our jobs for our clients we need to work together.
Maybe someone told you that the other agent is the enemy, or you think an experienced agent will take advantage of you. I know there are some offices around town that seem to instill that distrust in their agents.
But I have found that in most cases the other agent isn’t the enemy — they are trying to do their job and represent their clients to the best of their ability and they know that when we work together we can do a better job.
Some of the agents who have sold real estate for decades have a kind of attitude about those of us who have not been agents our entire adult lives. It is best to ignore the "they won’t change" attitude.
There is a kind of snobbery among some industry veterans and I still experience it. They have no respect for new ideas that new agents have brought into the industry. Some have stopped learning.
Never stop learning.
They don’t understand that it doesn’t take 20 years to become a good agent. You can do it in a much shorter period of time if you are willing to learn and willing to admit that you don’t know everything. Each transaction is different and it has something to teach us.
Just don’t forget to ask for help next time. If you are going to survive in the business you will need help. If the agent you are working with is difficult, please let that team lead of yours know.
He has a lot of experience and from what I can see he does a great job. You will be like him one day, and when you do have enough experience don’t forget to share it with a new agent.
And remember you were new once, too.
Teresa Boardman is a broker in St. Paul, Minn., and founder of the St. Paul Real Estate blog.
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